Dang, so much is happening back home! Sounds like everything is going well though. Kaleb has a car, man so jealous haha. That's good that Drew also came down and hung out with everyone – can’t wait to hang out with siblings again. Seems like everyone is growing up and the world is changing, it'll probably be a bigger shock than I think when I see you all again. Tell Maya, I appreciate that she’s taking care of the family and serving others (way to go sista!)
This week was a good week of work if I had to put it simply. We dropped a bunch of our amis, like 14/26 of the amis weren’t doing anything. So we’re now left teaching the quality people and at the same time, contacting a lot - not a bad mixture.
Even though we’re missionaries there are always those things that prove that we are still young men - for example - this week we started a water drinking contest between ourselves. It was planned to go for 2 weeks, until Elder Hatch finished his mission, and the prize was a chocolate bread and a break soy (soy milk drink that comes from heaven. haha). The first day I totally forgot about the competition and drank 1.5L of water, kinda a bad start. But Thursday I came back by drinking 4.5L, 1.5 of those liters being in one sitting after dinner! Sadly, even such a great feat wasn’t enough to overtake Elder Hatch who drank 10L!! We talked with the senior couple and they explained that you can get water poisoning from drinking too much water. Ohh, well that was the end of that competition haha. Fun while it lasted.
Now instead of just telling you about all the random lessons I've had, I decided this week to give you a walkthrough of a Sunday in the life of a missionary. And possibly the most exhausting Sunday of my life.
Yesterday started as usual, got up and went to church around 9am. Church started on time for a change, 10 minutes early in reality! Elders Quorum starts and it quickly goes as normal. 30 minutes of exhortations and point-less "Jesus-talk", as I have come to call it. Just saying vague things about Jesus and being saved that don’t help us become better people and are used as aimless fillers. Even some of our amis use "jesus-talk", usually when they don’t care or want to escape a hard question. But anyway, back to elder's quorum, the lesson was good but lacked energy, and those types of lessons suck all the energy out of you. Luckily, just before it ended, Jean, a 70 year old ami came to church for the first time! Woohoo, keeping commitments! With Jean, we go to the gospel principle class, and to our surprise, 6 people in total. We being two of them. Ohh boy, another long draining lesson about the Sabbath day. Jean is almost falling asleep, and no one really participates but the young man did a good job teaching and put in an honest effort - so no criticism - way to go Brother Elvis!
Finally we go to sacrament meeting and it’s a fast Sunday. Side note, I loath fast Sunday testimony meetings. Not because the idea, but because I have never attended a fast and testimony meeting that was 100% testimony bearing. Someone always gives a long story or has to thank people - why? Just get up and say what you know, that's it, nothing else. But to my great delight, the first testimony was amazing! Brother Mbengé, who was conducting said, "I know this is the only true church on the face of the earth. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen."
So amazing! First solid, perfect testimony I've ever heard on my mission. The rest of the meeting was good and went as usual.
Now after church there was a meeting for adults. It’s a program called interweave. It's a program that teaches basic management skills so that members know how to start little businesses and run them themselves. Some successful businessmen from Kinshasa and America came to give the class. Really cool thing, but because all the adults were together in the class, who watched the kids? Elder Johnson!!
Now I think God inspired this, but every Sunday one or two kids sit next to me during sacrament, and I never have anything to entertain them with. Usually I give them a blank paper from my planner and they draw. So this week I was one step ahead. I pulled out all the coloring pages from old Liahona magazines. We have an archive! So I went to church with 8 pages and my colored pencils. As Elder Hatch noted, "Ohh no the Daddy Johnson Sunday bag is already starting!" haha. Sitting outside church I called 4 little girls to come sit next to me and told them they could color while their parents were busy. It was all under control, these girls were older, maybe 7 and only four of them. I had a system going with the pencils, they used one at a time and if they wanted another they had to trade me. Man, I thought I was hot stuff! Taking care of kids isn’t that hard, I smuggly thought to myself...until all outer-darkness broke loose!
More younger children soon saw the pencils and stormed our arrangement. The worst part is they are so young they don’t talk yet, so absolutely no reasoning with them! One little girl just had to have 3 colors in her hand at a time, or she would scream. Another kept wandering off. And trying to evenly distribute the coloring pages almost started a war haha. Not to mention all this was outside in the heat of the day. Adding to the needs, the 7 year olds kept needing to trade pencils and tried to talk with me while I’m trying to calm these fussy toddlers. About 30 minutes after all this, reinforcements came, Elder Hatch and Colindres finished with a lesson and joined in on the fun.
A full hour later and VICTORY! We successful entertained all the kids. But Sunday didn’t end there. After, we had meetings of our own. I think you can see why Sunday was so tiring? But it didn’t stop there either, I almost forgot, after church I was waiting for a taxi to come by. And some punk tried to pick pocket me again! I had my white handbook and transport money pouch in my shirt pocket. He was walking towards me and I moved over to give him more than enough room to pass, but he pushed straight through me (hey when you walk straight towards someone when there is no crowd you kinda alert them. Common' basic pick-pocketing 101). Well, he tried pulling out the handbook, but everything flopped out from the pocket. So in typical Elder Johnson fashion, I grabbed him by his arms and started shaking him up and demanding "What was that about uhh?"
So thus the title of my email. Pick-pocketed twice on my mission, BUT i've always caught and stopped the thief - two for two!
That Sunday took everything out of me, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I was really happy that night to go home and eat and sleep. But that is missionary work - serving others and working. And I absolutely love it!
I’m sure we’ll talk about more interesting stories over our skype session - which isn’t too far away. Think of some sweet stories you guys can share with me as well. Don’t worry if you forget to email sometimes, I know y'all love me and are probably just busy. I love you guys, have fun in the snow!
ps - I never got a western union card, but luckily the senior couple is taking a trip to America to visit grandkids in Utah the 28th Dec until January 8th. They offered to bring anything back for us if our parents wanted to send it to them in Utah. So possible solution, get a western union card and mail it to them. They can bring it back. I don’t want to add things to your plate, but a possible solution?